Titans reach third place game at Region 6 Tournament
It’s hard to believe an 0-7 start to the season would end just two wins away from the Class B state boys basketball tournament.
However, that’s how this strange season played out for Towner-Granville-Upham.
“It’s quite an accomplishment considering our start,” T-G-U coach Shane Walker said.
T-G-U defeated Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood of District 12 in the quarterfinals of the Region 6 Tournament in Minot before seeing its bid for the title come to an end against top-seeded Berthold-Lewis and Clark of District 12 in the semifinals.
The Titans (9-15) ended their season playing for third place against Surrey on Thursday, March 12.
“Few teams get to end their season with a win, and that’s what were hoping to do,” Walker said prior to the game.
The Titans also had a little added incentive when facing the Mustangs. Surrey defeated T-G-U earlier in the season.
T-G-U 62, M-L-S 55
Towner-Granville-Upham, not M-L-S looked comfortable early on playing at the Minot Auditorium. The Titans hit several outside shots in the opening half, building a 28-14 halftime lead. Senior Mitch Smette led the way, finishing with 26 points. The Titans had not played in the Auditorium for several years, while M-L-S played there just a week earlier in the District 12 Tournament.
“We shot 48 percent from the field and that just breeds confidence for your players,” Walker said.
T-G-U built its lead in the third quarter and led by 21 points in the fourth quarter, but needed to hold back a furious comeback attempt by the Mavericks in the final quarter. M-L-S managed to get the game to within seven, but couldn’t hit free throws.
It was the first time since 2003 the Titans had won their first round game. That squad ended up placing third.
Berthold 54, T-G-U 34
Towner-Granville-Upham’s playoff run came to an end at the hands of Berthold-Lewis and Clark. The Bombers defeated the Titans 54-34 in the semifinals of the Region 6 Tournament on March 10.
Berthold’s offense was clicking early, building a 17-11 first quarter lead. The squad then started quarter two on a 7-0 run. T-G-U began to chip away at the deficit, going on an 8-2 run to cut the Bombers lead to seven late in the quarter. However, Berthold scored the final five points of the half, including a three-point buzzer beater to take a 12-point lead into the locker room.
“It seemed we had a lot of chances, but most of the shots were contested,” Walker said.
The Titans top scorer Mitch Smette was pestered all game by a taller defender.
“He was struggling and we needed others to step up and take their man to the basket, but I thought we were somewhat intimidated by them,” Walker said. “And a team like Berthold thrives on that.”
T-G-U needed to get off to a good start in the second half, but again struggled to find the basket. Berthold increased its lead and T-G-U attempted to claw back. The Titans cut the deficit to 10 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but that’s as close as they would get.
Notes: Berthold was bidding for its first region title since 2002…T-G-U was the only District 11 team to win its opening round game…A District 12 team has won the past four region tournaments.
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